PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A law firm representing the victims in a mass shooting that happened at Oakwood Terrace Apartments last Wednesday says they are filing a $10 million lawsuit against the companies that own the property.
The Witherspoon Law Group says the victims are suing DM Oakwood Terrace, LLC and Texas-based Marquis Asset Management, Inc. They say the property management and development companies ignored security concerns— even after two murders took place at their Pensacola properties in less than a year.
Tony Jefferson, Timothy Beck, Jerkavia Morgan, Ladaryl Purifoy, and another bystander were rushed to area hospitals after multiple gunmen sprayed the complex with approximately 40 rounds of ammunition during daylight hours on April 15, 2021. The Witherspoon Law Group filed a $10 million lawsuit on behalf of the injured victims Thursday, seeking damages from a violent crime that could have been prevented if security measures had been beefed up after recent killings at two apartment communities owned and managed by the same entities.
“Where is the accountability? These companies have known about the security issues at both of their Pensacola properties for decades, but they have failed to act,” said Kay Harper Williams, attorney for the shooting victims. “They’ve proved that protecting lives was not their priority.”
The law firm says residents are still reeling from the murder of well-known 18-year-old local rapper Frozone, who was shot and killed at the same complex— Oakwood Terrace, just 10 months ago. In December 2020, a 16-year old was shot and killed at Forest Creek Apartments, a nearby complex that is also managed by Marquis Asset Management.
“In less than a year, we have repeated incidents of gun violence with serious injury and death at two properties less than five miles apart. It’s plain to see that there is a pattern of negligence,” said Attorney Williams. “DM Oakwood Terrace and Marquis Asset Management are not honoring their own mission statement, which says that ‘people and doing the right thing are their first priority.’ Clearly, the safety of Oak Terrace and Forrest Creek residents and guests have not been their priority at all. These property owners have not done the right thing, here. They failed to act, even after two young people were murdered.”
The law firm states local law enforcement and community leaders have asked for additional cameras, security presence, more lighting, and other safety protocols. Requests have been made for counseling services to help children who were present at Oakwood Terrace apartments during last week’s shooting.
“Our clients have suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of the negligence of Oakwood Terrace’s ownership and management,” said Williams. “There has been a total disregard for the safety and security of the very people who allow their pockets to be lined with money each month.”